House Speaker John Boehner made the news on April 25 in a talk to a local Rotary club when he mocked his own Republican colleagues. He said that Congress was elected to make hard choices, such as how to deal with the chaotic enforcement of immigration laws. The speaker could have been more diplomatic, but he was right on.
Boehner said that the House of Representatives will not pass the U.S. Senate’s flawed immigration reform bill. He knows that the Senate bill is a disaster in form and in substance. Current immigration laws are being ignored, as Obama picks and chooses which laws he will obey. What the House needs to do is pass incremental immigration bills, beginning with border security and new guest worker regulations.
The constant harangue by liberal news media is that if the Republicans fail to act on immigration reform, they will lose the Hispanic vote for generations to come. This harangue is liberal propaganda. To win the Hispanic vote, Republicans need to offer people, especially documented immigrants, economic freedom and jobs in place of entitlement servitude.
Back in 1942, a federal initiative known as the Bracero Program was introduced in an agreement between the United States of America and Mexico. It permitted Mexican agricultural workers to enter the USA to fill job vacancies created when U.S. citizens left to serve in World War II.
Democrat President John F. Kennedy terminated the Bracero Program in 1964, because he said the Bracero workers were competing with U.S. citizens for jobs. A Democrat-dominated Congress then passed the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 (INA), which changed the emphasis on immigration from developed countries to Third-World undeveloped countries. The INA was part of President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society Program, and it remains the cause of the current immigration chaos.
Two decades passed before Congress passed the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA). The result was Reagan amnesty for 2.7 million illegal aliens. Although IRCA promised border control and Employer Sanctions, neither of them worked. IRCA opened a floodgate of undocumented immigrants.
Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush is correct in saying that strengthening and streamlining legal immigration is a major factor in resolving the current chaos. Undocumented immigrants, however, will not go away, but incremental border security and guest worker legislation can help reduce illegal border crossings.
A willing-worker program could be part of the answer to the current immigration chaos in the United States. Such a federal program could assist in the return from overseas of manufacturing and could help stabilize the agriculture industry. The program might function like this:
- Out-of-country applicants would apply to U.S. consulate offices in their homeland. Both in-country and out-of-country applicants would be need to meet the same requirements.
- Undocumented workers currently residing in the United States would be allowed to apply to the U.S. Department of State (DOS) for a guest worker visa after complying with the following requirements: paying a fine/penalty for violating U.S. immigration law and passing a health examination and criminal/background check required of all legal alien applicants. Those applicants choosing a U.S. citizenship track — an option after 10 years as a legal guest worker — would have learned English and would have paid taxes. Applicants who did not seek U.S. citizenship could qualify for legalization that would be renewable every five years.
- An applicant for a guest worker visa would be matched with an employer’s application of need stating that no U.S. citizen had sought that position. Employer applications submitted by businesses seeking legal guest workers would receive U.S. Department of Labor certification.
- At the end of a nine-month period, the legal guest worker would be required to leave the United States for three months, unless an employer applied for a three-month extension. Skilled worker visas (H1-B, etc.) would cover a two-year work period, with an extension available.
- U.S. employers would pay at least the minimum wage, maintain health insurance, pay worker compensation premiums, provide acceptable living quarters (where appropriate), provide the same work-place legal remedies as those for U.S. citizens, and deduct appropriate taxes. Sanctions against non-conforming employers would be enforced!
- Guest workers would not be required to join a labor union. A fund would be set up, whereby part of the guest worker’s salary was deposited to an interest-earning account. Upon returning to their homelands, guest workers could take these saved funds or leave them as an investment.
- Guest worker visas would be renewable, except in cases where visa holders violated local, state, or federal law. The renewal process, like the application process, would be streamlined.
When will Congress provide the nation with a workable immigration policy that will protect both willing workers and the host country? The time has come for Speaker Boehner to explain that a workable incremental immigration plan is in the nation’s best interest.
James H. Walsh was associate general counsel with the U.S. Department of Justice Immigration and Naturalization Service from 1983 to 1994. Read more reports from James Walsh — Click Here Now.
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